Karen Lugo

The Tenth Circuit acted according to current Establishment Clause precedent in affirming the hold on the so-called Oklahoma Anti-Sharia Amendment. American courts have determined that government may not take action that singles out a particular religion or creed in a discriminatory fashion. A more generically worded initiative called American Law for American Courts may fare better with wording that simply denies as authority all sources of foreign law when in tension with American law or constitutional protections.

After recently completing a study of American family law cases, I would suggest that it is most important for state legislators to consider adopting clear statutes that would provide standards for secular licensing of marriages, enunciation of prenuptial agreements, and registration of marriages officials.

Again, religious ceremonies and solemnizations may certainly take place outside the civic realm, but when parties present themselves before a judge and ask to have a marriage dissolved or dispute resolved, judges must to be able to define the relationship and the expectation of the parties according to “neutral principles of law.”

The painful lesson learned from Great Britain and Europe is that surrendering authority to adjudicate family law matters to sharia courts or shadow sharia tribunals is just the first step to accepting a subculture that is contrary to democratic values. British MP, Philip Davies observes that “[these courts] do entrench division in society, and do nothing to entrench integration or community cohesion. It leads to a segregated society.” House of Lords member Hope says that “there is no place in [sharia law] for equal rights between men and women."

While American law and founding traditions protect both individuals and groups, they are based upon a vigorous defense of individual liberty. The rule of law that was established as a bulwark between the citizen and oppressive groups – and the individual and tyrannical government – does not make exceptions for activist groups that demand exceptional treatment.


Karen Lugo

Karen Lugo is the Founder of the Libertas-West Project and a co-director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence.